The San Diego Leather Contests


Using the Olympic Scoring System, Contestants will be judged by a panel of seven in the following categories. 100 points are possible from each judge and a contestant must have 80% or more to qualify for the titles. The total will be certified by the Tally Master, and the Contestants with the most points will be declared Ms and Mr San Diego Leather. 

Percentage of scoring (100% possible):

  • Interview (40%)
  • Fantasy (15%)
  • Exhibitionism (10%)
  • Question & Answer (10%)
  • 90-second speech (15%)
  • Engagement, Stage Presence, and Overall Presentation (10%)


The Interview will be the morning of the Contest. The dress code is street leather, but is not necessarily what contestants wear during the “street leather” portion the night of the Contest. Interviews may be public or private, but will be hosted in a safe space.


Exhibitionism is a new category that has been called “physique” in the past. Contestants are encouraged to show us, amongst other things, their confidence, sex appeal, and cruising style. (Be sure to demonstrate your abilities in accordance with local vice laws.) 


Contestants will have five (5) minutes to perform The Fantasy of their choosing.  San Diego Police and Vice laws are in effect, and all performances will be approved prior to the contest day.  Contestants are strongly encouraged to be creative.  They may use props and assistants. Fantasies are judged on self-expression, creativity, audience response, and most of all, demonstration of planning and organizing in advance!


The Question and Answer segment will be during the Physique/Exhibition portion of the Contest.  Contestants will provide a personal ad describing themselves and what they are seeking, which will be read by the emcee while they are on stage presenting their look.   The ad will be 50 words or less.  Contestants will be asked a question; and give a short answer.  The judges will score based on their ability to think on their feet, entertain the crowd, and the content of the answer. Questions may be serious or silly, anything goes!


The 90-Second Speech will be given during the Formal Leather portion of the Contest.  Speeches may be on any topic of the Contestants choosing.  Contestants are encouraged to show off their public speaking skills and to let everyone in attendance know who THEY are and what they care about.  They will have exactly 90 seconds, and any overages will cost Contestants in the scoring.


Finally, judges will evaluate Engagement, Stage Presence, and Overall Presentation.  The judges will observe Contestants engagement with others throughout the weekend, and make a determination about your ability to engage people and present information. This is also where judges may score based on the appearance of Contestant gear/leather and their perception of Contestant preparedness.




First & Open Shines: 40 points (40%): March 15, 7-8pm (closed to public) & then from 8p – approximately 11p (except when participating in ceremonies).


Contestants offer bootblacking services to Judges and other event-goers. This category is weighted the highest because it most closely reflects how the winner will perform and conduct themself during the title year. Qualities the judges observe or experience are: skills, knowledge, chair management, personality, and appropriate level of professionalism &/or (if negotiated by boot-wearer & bootblack) eroticism.


Interview  20 points (20%): Morning of March 16th @ World Beat Center **Bootblack interviews are open to the public**

Judging panel will have a maximum of 20 minutes to interview each contestant on their knowledge of bootblacking, bootblack history, accomplishments, mentors or any other relevant subject.​​


Tech Boot: 20 points (20%): March 16th (after interviews) @ World Beat Center

Contestants are tasked with revitalizing & shining a boot randomly selected from entries to showcase their technical skills for judges to compare against the work of other bootblacks, using the un-touched boot from the pair as additional reference.


Speech:  10 points (10%):  March 16th during contest at the World Beat Center

Contestants give a speech on a subject of their choosing within the area of bootblacking to take place on stage. (90 seconds max).


Bootblack Sole:  10 points (10%): Observation starts Friday @ Open Shine

Pop-question & provide written fantasy, read aloud by emcee. Judges observe and award points for personality, professionalism, demeanor, passion, and appearance. Judges place emphasis on when the bootblack is engaging with the public socially, on stage, or at their respective stands. The interview or tech boot portions should not influence scores in this category.

100 points possible to achieve 100%


NOTE: Contestants are required to register for and participate in the San Diego Leather Pride events leading up to the Contest.  The application fee allows Contestants entry in the weekend events, as long as they fulfill the requirements of a Contestant as described herein. Also included are non-alcoholic beverages and light snacks at all events where these are offered. Registration and attendance as a Contestant represents an agreement to abide by the guidelines outlined in the Contestant Application.  This is a great opportunity to have fun, grow your skills, and make a difference!